Live review from The Underground “Back to its Roots” Festival Part 2:
Token consists of two guitar players, bass guitar, drums, and a female vocalist who also plays violin. All in all they are quite solid musically, with a special mention of the extreme talent of the female lead singer. Their composition is very professional and polished. Similar to some other Hong Kong bands, but with a unique style and feel. The things that set them apart from other bands are:
– Their music is more focused on composition, than just the usual standardized verse -> chorus -> verse -> chorus -> GUITAR SOLO -> chorus -> verse -> chorus.
– The added violin parts of the female singer are very sweet and add an unusual tone and texture seldom seen.
– The violin with the second guitar player really fill out the sound eliminating the need for a keyboards.
Song #1 糾纏圈
Canto-Pop song, with a slightly progressive feel. The song vamps on minor cord changes with a very interesting violin part layered over the top, with a dramatic sense and feeling a lot like the Electric Light Orchestra.
Song #2 時光倒流二十年
This song had a very happy major key feel. Something like girl meets boy, boy hurts girl and girl gets hurt. The song was very short, maybe less than 2 minutes.
Song #3 耳目手足
Pop with punk undertones. Also a very happy, up feel with the violin nicely filling up the open space. They quite effectually used dual melodic passages, so much so I was hoping for more, in a good way.
Song #4 瞞徒
This song was heavier and more progressive than the others using heavy style minor and chromatic scales. As well mixing up and playing with the time signatures. A very challenging piece that was done nicely.
Song #5 昨日
This song was too much classic Canto-Pop style. I really feel that TOKEN is better than this to fall into these generic, sound-alike canto styles. Lots of the crowd hand waving and really silly pop star worshipping nonsense.
Thank you TOKEN for a very nice set.
– Gregory Tancer
Live Review from Underground 111
- Complicated (cover)
We went back to a more familiar setting with Token, with multiple guitars, heavy songs, and a drummer (gasp!). Their brand of poppy-metal-rock is, to be honest, not original; one has definitely heard this before. But, what they are is really good at executing this style of music, which I consider an acceptable trade-off (in which case I would take issue with them calling themselves ‘alt’). They’ve got some solid musicians, and one really excellent singer; to put things in perspective, she’s the only person I’ve ever seen who’s attempted an Evanescence cover and nailed it. Whether or not one likes Evanescence, that’s impressive. And unlike many heavy-ish bands who elicit my perennial frustration, they’re not a one-trick pony and sensibly vary the styles from song to song. 糾纏圈 was an evidently Evanescence-inspired song, with the high noodling and low shreddy guitars, and of course the customary violin… That’s right, they also use a violin in their music. It adds a nice layer of intrigue to what could have sounded like unacceptably hackneyed music, and listening to the violin play parts that would normally have been played as a wailing guitar solo felt fresh and actually interesting to listen to. 昨日論 was a bit of a disappointment after the first song, being quite Coldplay-like, and I found it too much of a jump in style to have been good, and I could’ve really done without the Avril Lavigne song, but the crowd there seemed to like it, so maybe it’s just me. 瞞徒 was a cleverly-written song, sounding like Metallica mixed with Coven, playing Ring of Fire (with a violin). It appears to be the band’s penchant to end their sets with a punch, and tonight was no different; 耳目手足was a pop-punky, boppy song, something in the vein of Blister in the Sun, that was, quite simply, really well-done. Which could be said of the whole set – it was just well-done, and they certainly knocked the show up a notch.
— Shashwati Kala
— Becky Wong